We have heard about how awful it is in Uganda even without the possible passage of the anti-gay bill. But just in case everything you have heard hasn't gotten through to you, try reading about what happened during a human rights forum in Kampala last month:
At a human rights forum held . . . in Kampala, a Ugandan Member of Parliament said he would kill his son if he discovered he was gay.
The MP, Otto Odonga, was immediately denounced by the forum's keynote speaker, Makau Mutua.
“I am baffled by the kind of hatred you spew against gay people,” Mutua said, “including your desire to be a hangman. Would you apply to be a hangman if the person to be hanged were your son?”
When Odonga nodded yes, Mutua said, “There is something deeply wrong with you.”
The forum, titled Human Rights and Sexual Orientation, made it clear that many Ugandans do not yet believe that homos are entitled to human rights. The country's MPs are getting set to debate a law that would impose the death penalty on people who engage in gay sex more than once.
“Human rights are not sacrosanct,” Odonga said. “Private parts do not belong in the anus. We will not accept this kind of deviant behaviour in our society.”
Luckily, according to the article, other members of the audience had more sense than Odonga:
One of the morning's other speakers, Solome Nakawesi-Kimbugwe, said that Uganda — one of the world's poorest countries — should deal with economic issues. “Let's put our priorities where our problems are,” she said. “As Ugandans, what we want are laws that are relevant. Homosexuality is not a problem for us.”
Nakawesi-Kimbugwe is the director of Akina Mama wa Africa Foundation, a feminist organization.
The article also goes on to say that the keynote speaker, Mutua, ripped into the homophobic sentiment perpetrated against gay Ugandans:
“The kind of speech you made against gay people was the kind of speech that white segregationists were making all over America. Those arguments are classic. They have been reproduced in every era by every segment of society. You didn't invent them.”
The very idea that a government official would publicly and proudly declare that he would murder his child if that child turned out to be gay stays with me.
So if by chance the Ugandan anti-gay bill does not pass, let's not be so quick to slap ourselves on the back or give each other congratulatory notes because there is still much work to be done for our Ugandan lgbt brothers and sisters.
To accentuate this point even more? Apparently there were only a handful of gay activists attending this human rights forum. But none of them stood up to speak.
And we all know why.